Manchester United sorted themselves out in their second match against West Ham United in fours days, knocking the Londoner’s out of the EFL Cup with a 4-1 scoreline. It was the same old story for United, who this time took the lead in the first two minutes with Henrikh Mkhitaryan back-heeling Zlatan Ibrahimovic a great ball inside the box with the Swede finding the back of the net, before receiving a studs-up challenge from Adrian right on his knee, which kept his down for a while, recovering to continue the match. United had some great chances with Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney coming close to scoring, the latter from a neatly placed free-kick, which did not beat the keeper. United then found themselves being pegged back by the Hammers, who equalised in the 35th minute through Ashley Fletcher after David De Gea could not keep hold of Dimitri Payet’s shot, putting it straight into the path of United’s former youth player, who left in the summer. United struck back in the second half though with Anthony Martial putting United back in the lead three minutes into the second half, assisted by Mkhitaryan, then scoring his second of the night, which was assisted by Antonio Valencia. United scored their fourth in the dying seconds of the match through Ibrahimovic, assisted by Ander Herrera. Great result for United, who face Hull City in the semi-finals of the competition.
Two assists for the Armenian, who was also named the EFL Cup Man of the Match. It is a great comeback for Mkhitaryan, who initially looking like he would not play for United again, but Jose Mourinho knew what he was doing, it was the media putting these differing stories out there, with many supporters opting to go with the media’s side of the story. Mourinho and Mkhitaryan knew the full story, that is all that matters. The Armenian is on fire, assisting twice in the match, his first since April, which was whilst he was at Borussia Dortmund. Mkhitaryan is a great player and now seeing him shine is great. He will be confident ahead of United’s busy period, where him being fully fit, settled and in form is going to be good for United, his teammates, his manager and more importantly, the fans.
Another success story under Jose Mourinho this season. Only days ago he was criticised for not taking his chances, with Mourinho saying if you do not take your meat, someone else will, or words to that effect. The player obviously listened to that, or the fact he would have heard it from Mourinho first-hand before we did, getting that chance this evening and paying him manager back for it. Martial was on fire, taking the challenge to his man, winning them more often than not, getting himself on the scoresheet twice, which will only fill him with more confidence. United now head into December with seven matches on the cards, a busy period with three or four matches being played over the festive period. Having Martial fit and raring to go will only help United. If they can claw back some of the deficit from the teams above them, playing Tottenham Hotspur early in the month, facing Everton, who are below United, this weekend. December could see United in form, which may see rival teams noticing them.
Manchester United are creating chances, playing well, but it would seem that sometimes, despite dominating in matches, it can go against them. Manchester United are work in progress, doing well in putting the last three years behind them. The fact that Mourinho has his side playing positive football is a turning point – gone are the days of the boring possession rich matches under Louis van Gaal, now we get to see exciting attacking displays. The fact that both Mkhitaryan and Martial are looking good is a great sign, not to great for United’s opposition, though. Winning in the Premier League is the next checkpoint to reach, beating Everton, making up some ground in the league as Manchester City and Chelsea face each other in the league this weekend, with West Ham entertaining Arsenal, so there could be a chance for United to claw back some of the gap come Sunday afternoon. United are playing good football, they look good defensively, despite lacking strength there with the injuries to Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly. The midfield is looking good and the forward like seems to be working right now. Two goals for Anthony Martial and another two for Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks good on paper, and in reality. United may not yet be back fully, but it is coming.